The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 212, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Clive Kavan
Episode originally released on July 4, 2019
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released July 15, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
Chris Brennan: Hi. Thanks for joining me today. Could you tell me your name?
Clive Kavan: Clive Kavan.
CB: Brilliant. And could you tell me how you got interested in astrology?
CK: Yes, my brother-in-law was Patrick Curry and he did my chart for me. This must have been in the 1970s, and I was struck by how accurate it was. But I thought he’d asked my sister for information, so I decided to investigate a little further. So I bought Margaret Hone’s text book on astrology and learned how to cast a chart, and board an ephemeris and things like that. And trying to find out what it was, my theory was that it was rubbish and it was a con, and I was going to prove it wrong. But it turned out not to be wrong to be rather good actually, and I sort of had to eat my words at the end of it.
CB: So you were a skeptical originally?
CK: Very so, yeah.
CB: Okay. Is that naturally an inclination for you?
CK: Well, I’m an electronics engineer, so things that don’t have obvious connections, I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of quite a lot of things, actually. I used to be skeptical of people on what I considered fad diets like vegetarianism and so on then, but I’ve had to eat my words yet again, and went vegetarian in the early ’70s.
CB: Okay. So this is maybe a recurring theme for you in different areas?
CK: Yeah. I got told things in one point when I’m younger and I found them to be not exactly what I was told later on in life.
CB: Brilliant. So you start studying astrology in the 1970s and you get very serious about it. What do you do? Do you take classes? Do you attend local astrology meetings?
CK: Well, initially, I went to the faculties intermediate class to get a certificate. And I did that for about a year or so. I can’t remember with all the time. The tutor was called Martin Freeman, and he was quite nice chap and taught us quite a lot about astrology, and I was fascinated by it. I wasn’t very good at interpretation, but at least I understood the calculations. And I began to get the idea about interpretation as time went on.
CB: Brilliant. So you’re studying basically like modern astrology or like psychological astrology in some sense?
CK: In those days it was well, what we would call modern astrology, it was very Jungian based. Martin was very good at the technical stuff like mathematics and the celestial sphere and trying to explain those sorts of things. And the other class was run by Liz Greene. And she wasn’t very good at that, but very good at interpretation. And she gave at least one class to us on how to interpret on Jungian principles.
CB: So this is she’s teaching at the faculty and this is maybe before the Centre For Psychological Astrology?
CK: Oh yes. This was ’74 or ’75.
CB: Okay, brilliant. So yeah, you’re studying modern psychological astrology, and then eventually at some point, when did you get interested in older forms of astrology?
CK: It’s difficult to say exactly when, but Martin Freeman sold me a little book which was Lilly’s Merlini Anglici Ephemeris. Never get that quite right. I’m not a Latin speaker, naturally. And it was four years, the very last years of his ephemeris band together. And they were quite interesting. This was from 1674 to 1677, I think, inclusive. And I remember paying £100 for the book because it’s pretty rare, probably not even in the BM. And I still have it, it’s very interesting reading. And it was when Lilly was quite old and he’d left his little wise thoughts towards the end. And I’ve published those via… I forget names a lot, sorry. I gave them to… Anyway, she put them on the web. Lee Lehman, I gave them to Lee Lehman, and she put them on the web. So they were out there for everyone. A few years later, I was always looking for older boks because I wasn’t very convinced about Jungian theories. I’m still not actually. And so I was looking for older books on astrology, and there was some that were easily found, but not very many. Watkins rang me up one day and he said, “I’ve got a very old textbook for you here. It’s in terrible condition, but it’s yours for £7 if you want it.” So I went straight in, gave him the £7. And what I’d had was a copy of the Doctrine of Nativities by John Gadbury.
CK: It was in a shoe box. It was in pieces. And Mike Ed, who was a friend of mine at the time, and I went through it and worked out which pages were missing, which pages were there. He went to the BM and got photocopies of the two or three missing pages that we had. And we had copies then when we photocopied it all of Doctrine of Nativities, which I still maintain is one of the best textbooks on natal astrology. It’s an extraordinary book, and I have a copy here.
CB: And when was it published?
CK: I’ll tell you that. 1658.
CB: Wow. Okay.
CB: And you have a copy of the actual book here?
CK: The original one that I have is still at home somewhere. I can’t quite find it, but I have a copy here that was given to me. Here. And as you can see, it’s a book 350 odd years old, and it’s still extraordinarily relevant today. It’s written in English or most of it’s written in English. Some of it’s in Greek and some of it’s in Latin, but it doesn’t really detract me from the books content.
CB: Right. So was it your skeptical nature that led you to wanting to look into older forms of astrology in some sense, that you’re skeptical about contemporary astrology and looking for something more?
CK: I was looking for something from the past, something more deeper than these, shall we say, rather trivial analyses with people’s charts. I thought there might be something else added to which at the Astrological Lodge of London, which I joined by then. There were people there who talked about older forms of astrology. There was Derek Appleby who talked about horary which I found very interesting. And Jeffrey Cornelius, who talked about all sorts of things, he was more into the philosophy of astrology, I think, their natural predictions and so on. But nevertheless, I knew he had all the textbooks and so on and I found this fascinating, I wanted to know what was in all these older textbooks. And they were thin on the ground. You couldn’t go out and buy them.
CB: Right. They weren’t contemporary versions of them, but occasionally you would just find little fragments of some of these older texts like you did in a shoe box?
CK: Yeah. Well, that was a stroke of luck. Lilly had been rewritten by a Victorian astrologer who’d replaced all Lilly’s charts with his own and his own interpretations, but he’d used Lilly’s book as the basis for his version. And he called it Lilly’s astrology probably to add more weight, but it wasn’t Lilly’s astrology by then. And he messed up a lot of the information that was contained in the original, which I didn’t know at the time, but we now know.
CB: What’s the name of that author again? Is that Zadkiel?
CK: No, no. That was William… I don’t know, I forget. It’s the Newcastle Publishing edition anyway who did that book. I don’t think it’s available anymore, but there are a load of copies floating around. And it’s not what Lilly wrote, not at all.
CB: So there’s like later versions maybe, but just Lilly didn’t exist and wasn’t available to other readers at that time. And so what happened here is you got a copy of Gadbury and you realize that there’s other older books from that time period from the 17th century, that might still be around?
CK: Oh yeah. Finding Gadbury was an eye-opener to put it mildly. We were always told that you shouldn’t predict certain things. You shouldn’t tell people when they’re going to die, you shouldn’t tell that astrology compels. Well, I don’t think it does compel, but nevertheless, there’s arguments for saying that forces in astrology are not easily repelled, should I say, in cases. And here was an author who laid it out and said it like it was. He goes through Mercury and he goes through Mercury through the houses, Mercury through the signs. Then he starts arguments for a bright understanding and arguments for a dull or stupid understanding. And it’s there in text. And I tell you what, he seems to be right. He does seem to be right. And then he deals to every planet like that, he goes into detail.
CB: So the astrology that you’re reading in these older books from the 17th century represented something that was radically different than what you were used to up to that point?
CK: Oh yeah. Oh yes. We were always told to tone it down. We were told not to get into prediction. I was once told off whilst I’d learned a little for using what they termed a horary technique, which wasn’t a horary technique, it was an older technique, when interpreting a chart at the Lodge. There was a chart, was he a saint or a sinner? And I can’t remember who it was now, but he was definitely a sinner. He was a serial murderer, I believe. And I looked at the chart and I sort of with what I’d learned from, well, we didn’t have Lilly at the time, we had Gadbury. And with what I’d learned from Gadbury, I said he was most decidedly, not a nice person at all. And he had all sorts of problems and I atleast went through them and I was told by… I forget the person in charge of the Lodge at the time, that I shouldn’t use horary techniques on natal charts.
CB: Right. So there was something almost bad or wrong with that approach, it was sort of taboo in some ways?
CK: It did seem to be, yes. Anyway, I’d heard of Lilly because Olivia Barclay used to be around from time to time, and we knew she had a copy. And I think Jeffrey Cornelius had Charles Carter’s copy of Lilly, he had a second edition. Olivia Barclay had two thirds of the first edition. And my edition as, well, you will see is missing a few pages which had beeen written in by hand afterwards. And we knew about William Lilly, and I was always trying to trace down these books. I had a girlfriend at the time who lived down in Cheltenham, and she rang me up. She said, “There’s a bookstore around here. And the guy’s got old astrology books.” So I got in the car went straight down and then put checkbook in my jacket and a pen, off we went. And we went down there and he produced a copy of Christian astrology, which I’d never seen before. And in fact, this copy here. This copy here. And I opened it and I had a look at it and I said, “Is it for sale?” He said, “Well, no.” He said, “Besides, if I was to sell it, it would have to be at least £200.”
CB: [ Chris laughs] That’s all?
CK: We’re talking in the late ’70s, late ’79, 1980, something like that.
CB: That’s a fair bit there.
CK: That was a lot of money then. That was a considerable amount of money. It’s like about £1000, £2000 now. We’ve had rampant inflation since that time. And I got out my checkbook and wrote him a check for £200, and I handed him the check. I said, “Well, do you want to sell it?” And he looked at the check and he looked at me and he looked at the book and he took the check and I had the book. And it’s been restored a little bit. I’ve had a new class put on it. Well, the class was original, but a new piece of leather, had a lot of work done to it. But nevertheless, that’s how I got it and it’s staying in that condition as far as I can see, and it’s a beautiful book. And when I took it to the Lodge, everyone wanted to have a look.
CB: And what year was it published, again?
CB: Okay. And this is the first?
CK: This is the first edition. Here we go. As you can see in this down there, 1647.
CB: Brilliant. Wow.
CK: And it’s in rough condition, as you [Clive laughs] can see. It’s a bit moth-eaten and so on, but it’s mostly there. Here’s one of the handwritten parts where they’ve obviously lost pages.
CB: Wow. So I mean, this is a book that’s three or four centuries old.
CB: And this is the oldest, I think it’s often credited as being the oldest English language textbook on astrology.
CK: It is. It is. He writes in here some place I believe. It isn’t in this copy because this has lost some pages over the years. Oh, no. Correcting writers. No, it’s missing from this particular copy. But it had essentially everything that Lilly has in. It’s complete.
CB: Right. So you suddenly are one of three people that has a full copy of Lilly at that point in the 1980s?
CK: Well, we knew that Geoffrey Cornelius had one because the rumor has that Charles Carter had either given it to him or it got to him via a lady in the Lodge called Mavis. The second name I’m afraid, I’ve forgotten. We know that Olivia Barclay had somewhat one, I had a complete set, and another astrologer in the Lodge, Catriona Mundle, had a copy, but it was not complete. Complete copies of William Lilly were virtually impossible to find. We also knew that the AA library had a second edition. And we got another one from somewhere. Anyway, round about 1984, Catriona Mundle and I decided that… Well, we wanted to publish Gadbury to start with. But Olivia was very active trying to get people to learn more about horary astrology. And horary astrology is essentially what Lilly’s all about. I mean, he does other things as well, but he’s the father of, should we say, modern horary astrology. And all the rules given in Christian astrology pretty much apply.
CB: Right. He starts with horary and then goes to natal instead of the opposite?
CK: Yeah. He starts with the meaning of the planets. The book one is the meaning of the planets and the signs and so on. Then book two is how to judge any number of questions, in other words, horary. And then book three is about nativities. Whereas in Gadbury, the whole book is about natal and then nativities. I mean, the doctrine of horary questions is a little bit at the end, it’s not essentially about horary.
CB: Right. And so what year did you acquire that edition of Lilly?
CK: It must be around about 1980, plus or minus a year. I can’t remember exactly, but it must have been about there.
CB: So you spent the next few years studying it then?
CK: Yeah, yeah, I got into it. It was fascinating stuff. But Gadbury was still good. They were different things. Plus there was this increase in interest in horary with Derek Appleby and Olivia Barclay being the main proponents. Olivia was a proponent of Lilly and Derek Appleby suggested we get Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson’s book on horary astrology, which I have at home. It’s an excellent book. She must’ve read Lilly too because a lot of it seems to be lifted from Lilly, but in her own words. I mean the rules are there, so.
CB: Sure. So by the time 1984 rolls around, you said that you got together with Catriona?
CK: Catriona had been left a little money and I had a couple of thousand pounds, and we decided that we had to do something. And we decided to do Lilly because almost all of it is in English. There are Latin phrases and so on, but nothing daunting. But whereas in Gadbury there are pages and pages of stuff in Latin and stuff in Greek as well. That would have had to be translated and you would have had to reset the whole book essentially. And that’s a considerable amount of money, and we didn’t have very much money. So we had about £6,000 between us, and we decided to try and do Lilly. And we did it as a facsimile to try and save money. The problem was to get a set of pages, a complete set of pages in photocopied form that we could clean up. And we ended up with six copies. One of which, Olivia’s, we actually had to break the spine in order to get it flat enough on the photocopy to get the pages. Hers was only the first two books, nevertheless, the condition was remarkable. It was very good. Some of the pages were missing, some of the bits and pieces were damaged, but nevertheless, we got it all. And we went through the other books to fill in all the bad pages that we had and so on. In fact, we went through a photocopying craze and photocopied everything, and then cut pages together in order to get complete pages. I hesitate to say, but I have to admit, there are four pages out of sequence in our final book, but it’s in the Doctrine of Nativities and it’s in the nativity section, and no one’s pulled us up on it so far. [Clive laughs] [Chris laughs] But it was quite a job. We had people from the Lodge, we were paying people so much a page for cleaning it up. We bought tippex to the point where I think they were wondering what we were doing with that tippex and tippex diluent and fine Campbell hairbrushes and so on, to clean up the pages and Rotring pens to redo some of the bad print. And finally, we had a complete set of pages and sorted it all out. I got a positive slide of Lilly’s portrait from the Ashmolean. I went to a color printer and he printed the frontispiece, this color plate. It was quite a good job. And Catriona mainly arranged with the printers and printers [unintelligible 21.18] in Somerset somewhere. And we went down there with all our stuff and tried to negotiate, and it was a huge amount of money. I think it was about £12,000, which in the 1980s was more than I earned in a year. So it was about 18-months salary. [Clive laughs] In order to raise money, I sold advanced copies and pieces of paper which said, “You pay us £ 26 now. And when the book is printed, we’ll send you out a copy.” And I raised about £2500 that way.
CB: So about a fifth of what you needed or so?
CK: Yeah. We were paying people for cleaning the pages, and the bill for that was nearly £3000 as I recall, but I might be a bit wrong. It was not far of £3000. And yeah, so we had a complete set of pages. We went down to them and they gave us a deal which I thought was rather good. The book is not printed in black and white because we couldn’t get colored paper to mimic the coloration of old paper. We printed it in sepia. So it’s not a black print. We had to have white paper, otherwise it would have been a specialist paper run and the cost would have been too much. But I insisted that the books were sewn so that they would last at least as long as the originals. And they were sewn in 16s, 16 pages at the time. I think it’s 916 pages long, something like that.
We got Geoffrey Cornelius to write an astrological perspective from a modern point of view about it. And we got Patrick Curry to write a historical perspective because by then he’d been doing a lot of work on the history of astrology. So we wrote those. We didn’t put them in the front as forewards because I thought it would detract from the book being like an original. So I called it an afterward. God helped me for that one. [Clive laughs] I put it at the back. I suppose a lot of people never even get there and never get to read it, but it’s all there in the back. And then Eric Moss, who was a Lodge member at the time, who was very hot on fixed stars, had researched all the fixed stars that are used, and we gave a little piece of paper which we stuck in at the end about the fixed stars. And we also included Lilly’s birth chart because it’s not in the book. We included Lilly’s birth chart from Gadbury’s collection. And that was it. And we told them to go ahead, and they were very generous to us. They gave us 90 days to pay after the books were delivered, which was incredibly trusting because we’d have gone under if they hadn’t. And we waited until it was delivered. It was sometime actually.
CB: How many copies did you order?
CK: 2000 copies plus 100 in paper. And we were going to make special presentation editions for people who’d helped and things like that. It didn’t quite work out like that. But nevertheless, I had the prototype which is this one here. This is a hand bound leather edition, the final thing, and with a color portrait of William Lilly courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum, very nice of them. And there it is, 1647.
CK: The page I’m most proud of is this one, to the student in astrology. Now in the first edition, the page goes on about… We couldn’t get a complete page from any of the editions, that’s the first problem. But the first edition, the end of it is going on about, “God bless Lord Fairfax and let him do well in his fight against the royalists and things like that.” But the problem is that he had to write that in order to get the book printed. It was in the middle of the English civil war. By 1659, those restrictions didn’t apply. And he rewrote it. Most of it is still the same, but the end bit is completely different. So if you look very carefully at this page, you’ll see down to there, it is one style of print, and then the bottom is another style of print and it’s actually two separate pages put together.
CB: So you merged both editions?
CK: Yeah. The first edition, front first top half, second edition, finish. Without all the dedication to Lord Fairfax and so on and so forth. I can’t remember all the details because I’ve got an archive at home with all this stuff.
CB: So what year was this published? 1985?
CK: That’s right, yes.
CB: Okay. What do you remember? Was there a day or a month?
CK: It went to the printers in April, 1985 and we had it… We had the copies come back, all printed by the AA conference, which was in September that year. August or September, I think September. And we just got them then. And I remember when the lorry arrived with the copies, weighed eight tons. Nothing quite makes you want to sell books like receiving enough books to fill your living room. [Clive laughs].
CB: Is that where you stored them?
CK: No. I had a garage, we put down pallets and we stored them on the pallets in stacks about five feet high. And there were several… Maybe it wasn’t eight tons, maybe it was only three or four, but it was a lot. And I had a couple of friends of mine and we had to… They were rather struck by the fact that we didn’t have a pallet truck, a forklift. [Clive laughs] And we had to unload them one at a time. And they backed it right up to the garage where we’re putting them in and we put the pallets down there and we unloaded the books onto them, and that was it. And I looked at it when the truck disappeared and I thought, “My God, I think we’ve just wasted 12,000 quid.” [Clive laughs] It was really frightening.
CB: All right. So you have 2000 copies of this book, and it comes out just in time for the AA conference and you go to the Astrological Association conference in order to now you’ve got to sell 2000 copies of this book that you’ve just plunged huge amounts of money and time and effort into over the past, what? How long was the project to put it together? Like a couple of years?
CK: About year. We worked really quite hard. It was a lot of work and a lot of anger and tears involved as well. People were being very, very strange about it all.
CB: How many people were involved? Who was the core group if you’ve got six unique original copies together?
CK: That’s right. Yeah. We had six and we had the photocopies. And then Catriona’s flat was at the time just right in Bloomsbury, just around the corner from The Art Workers’ Guild where the Lodge met at the time. And she had people come round there to clean up pages, and I was running around trying to sell advance copies and so on to keep paying all the bills. And it was several months, five or six months to get to that point where we had a complete set of pages. It was quite a job.
CB: So Olivia Barclay is one of the people that worked with you to get this together. She contributed–
CK: Olivia Barclay didn’t exactly work with us, but she was very glad that we did it. And she was very encouraging, and she lent us her book so that we could work on it. And she was photocopying her book and selling these photocopies, I think for about £25, which is probably what it costs to photocopy.
CB: Oh, she’d been doing that for a few years up to that point?
CK: Yeah. It was like you’d have a page like that, and that was one, and then that would be the next page and so on. And she’d edited it into what she thought people needed to know, just cut it down to keep it within realistic balance. So it wasn’t complete. They were rough copies to work with, and they were for her students.
CB: Okay. And she’d been doing that since the early 1980s?
CK: I think so, yes. I’m not entirely sure. But she’d always had a few people and she’d always been interested in astrology. She was a woman who lived her astrology. I remember when she had a bad car accident and someone drove into her and smashed her car up, but she walked away and she said, “Thank you Uranus for letting me get away with it.” [Chris laughs] She thought she had a bad transit, and she knew that something bad was going to happen. And she was very grateful that she didn’t get killed on that transit.
CB: Right, brilliant. So she was really into horary and really seemed to push that traditional revival of horary based on Lilly, right?
CK: Oh, yes. Yeah. But it was very difficult because there were no copies of Lilly around. I think we were lucky because we were trying to do more traditional books, but we didn’t know quite which way to go. It was very handy that Olivia was there pushing it at the same time. We did come from different places, it was coincidence really. But when we put ours out, there was a market there of people who were willing to pay the money because it’s not a small book. It’s not like paperbacks. People had to pay 5, 6, 7, even 10 or 12 pounds for paperback. But they bucked to paying £35 for a 900-page sewn book because it’s a lot of money, even though pro rata, you’re getting a much better deal.
CB: Right. So you said you had to break the spine of her copy of Lilly. So that’s a pretty big sacrifice. I guess she was willing to–
CK: Yeah. We had it restored. We had it all rebound and put back together, and we sent it back to her in perfect condition. We don’t just destroy books. [Clive laughs] [Chris laughs] They’re too precious.
CB: Yeah. It sounded very traumatic. So you go to the AA conference, you have all of these books, was it successful? Was it a hit or what happened at that point?
CK: Well, Chester Kent was in charge of the bookstore at that point, and he was selling it. Before it went to the binders, we had 100 copies which we sent, this was the prototype. This is the one we were told this will look like. But, in fact, they worked out slightly different. And we had about 10 of these by then.
CK: And we decided they were going to be numbered, so there was only gonna be 100. And so we took the 10 along, and we presented number one to The Astrological Association for their library. And number two went to the Lodge for their library, and after that people could buy them. But there were £165, and not many people bought them. So when people looked at the plastic-bound copy of Lilly, they said, “Gosh, £35, that’s a lot of money.” And Chester would point to the other one up there. And he said, “Well, that’s 165 pounds. This one’s a bargain.” [laughs] I think we gave away, to subscribers that was, there was about 30 to 40 subscribers there, and we set up a little table beside Chester’s camp thing with boxes of these books, and we gave them away to the subscribers who came along with their bit of paper. And we had a list, and they got their copies like that. And that saved us the postage, at least. Then the rest of them we posted out. I think it was around about 180 copies we sold in advance.
CB: Okay. That’s a decent bit, but it’s not a lot.
CK: It’s not a lot. Well, it’s £26 each. So 26 times 180. It paid for the workers to clean up and stuff like that. Yeah, I’ve never said this was big finance. This is always on a shoestring.
CK: And, yes, it went down quite well. I think we sold 30 or 40 copies at the AA conference. And then we sold quite a few copies at the Lodge as well. And gradually, the word got round and caught on. And Olivia used to buy copies from us which we gave her a good discount on so she could sell them on to her pupils. Donald Weiser from Samuel Weiser, Inc. made an agreement with us to buy 250 copies as soon as they were available. And 250 copies at 1.4 kilograms each is quite a lot, and I had a Mini Metro at the time. And we had boxes of books all wrapped up for surface mail because airmail was out of the question. The cost would have been more than the discount we were giving him, and so we would have made a loss on the books. So we sent the books off to Donald Weiser in New York with his discount, and it was a lot of money. It was about 7,000 quid or something like that. And he sent us a check after about 60 days, and that helped us to pay the printers. And I even had to borrow a couple thousand pounds from my mother in order to finally settle the bill for the printers after 90 days. So that’s how close to the edge we were.
CB: And you were able to eventually meet that deadline?
CK: Oh yeah, yeah.
CB: Okay. And so it became known as the Regulus edition of William Lilly of Christian astrology, and that’s because the company was Regulus.
CK: Yes. I was at the Lodge one day, and we were talking about we should form a company for this because there were two of us. And there was an old astrologer there, an old lady, and I’ve forgotten her name. I haven’t seen her since. She said, “Call it after a good fixed star, it will bring you fortune.” So I said, “How about Regulus?” And she said, “Fine, that’s brilliant.” So Regulus Publishing it was.
CB: Brilliant. And how old were you at that point? What’s your birth data? Do you share?
CK: Yeah, sure. It’s 14th of March 1949 4:40 AM, Bromley in Kent. Should give you about two and a half degrees Aquarius Ascendant. And I’m not really suspicious of people and think someone’s gonna use my data against me. And I’m 70 now, so I’m sort of doing all right really. So in the ’80s I would have been 85. So I would have been… Sorry, brain’s gone dead. [laughs]
CB: You’re in your mid-30s?
CK: Yeah, about 36 years old. We started it when I was 35, so that’s probably something very symbolic which I can’t quite figure out now.
CB: Was there an element of almost like rebelliousness in it in that you were promoting–
CK: No, no. I’ve always had this theory, and I do it in electronics as well. If people wanna learn, I’ll help them. So many people keep information to themselves and don’t tell other people. And I think essentially that’s wrong. And I’ve always tried to spread any knowledge that I have. And I thought that me having the one copy is very nice for me and a few of my friends, but it’s not much help to other people. And I thought it would be very good to publish this and get it out there. And I hoped it would make a difference, I hoped people would see there’s more to astrology than just Jung or Freud or any of the others. And there is, it’s a very good book, it’s an excellent book.
CB: So that was your underlying almost like philosophical motivation that drove you to do this?
CK: Oh yeah. There’s no money in it. Regulus was alive for 20 years until it all had to be shut down. And I can’t remember, I think, if I made £100 a year. [laughs] That would be an exaggeration, I think. But there was no money in it for us, but we did what we did because we wanted to get the knowledge out there. There’s other things we did as well, this is not the only book. I was always very surprised that no one did primary directions which I’ve always thought was a very interesting predictive tool which has fallen out of use. So we republished Sepharial’s Directional Astrology. And we only printed 500 copies of that, and I haven’t sold that many, I only sold about 200. But it’s an important book. It gives you all the math for primary directions. Anima Astrologiae is another book we published which was–[coughs] Sorry, about that. Anima Astrologiae was a book by Jerome Cardan of Milan and Bonatus, translated by William Lilly and published by him in 1677, 1678. There was a Victorian edition. And I bought a load of old books about astrology from one of the early Zadkiels. I can’t remember what his name was, but he was one of the Zadkiels. I bought his library for £400 pounds which was a lot of money. And this was one of them, and I read it. And I was most struck by the fact that one of the Bonatti aphorisms was… And I’m taking this from memory, I should have brought a copy of the book with me. [chuckles] That clothes put on when the Moon is in the first phase of Scorpio, were apt to be torn and damaged. And I bought a new pair of trousers from Savoy Taylors Guild, funnily enough. And as I went down to the door, pieces of brass on the door caught on them and tore them. And I thought that is very interesting. And I went home, and I looked at the ephemeris to see what was going on, and the Moon was in the first phase of Scorpio. So I thought, “Okay. Well, that’s rather good. This is another book to publish.” And we printed thousands of copies of that, probably only got a couple of 100 left now. But it’s really, really good stuff.
CB: Do you know what year that was?
CK: ’87, ’88, something like that.
CB: So once Lilly came out, you did start looking forward to publish other books?
CK: Yeah, because we were gonna get money back, and we wanted to publish other stuff.
CB: Right. Were there any other books that you ended up publishing?
CK: We only managed the three. I wanted to publish Gadbury, but the problem was translation. I didn’t know people. Now there are more people around. It’s easy to say we should have done this at the time. But the fact remains that there’s very few people around that I knew who knew about astrology, who could speak Greek or ancient Greek as well, more to the point or Latin. And it’s very easy to translate things straight from one thing to another. But you got to get the general gist of it. It’s not enough to know a language. There are different meanings and different things which don’t translate straight. And I’m sure Latin is the same, Latin into English and Greek into English. So we would need someone who is an astrologer who knew Latin and Greek to translate it, and it would have been a nice thing to do. I’m sure someone’s done it by now, but not me this time.
CB: Sure. And that’s another one that you have a first edition of?
CK: Yeah. Well, they certainly ran the one edition, this one here. This is in bad condition, but it’s complete. Some of the pages have been repaired around the edges and so on, but it’s a very good book. This is Midheaven to the Sun and its aspects. Oh, these are directions here. If you go back to, here we go, it deals with the various different signs and so on, what they rule and so on.
CB: The glyphs are really beautiful.
CK: Yes, they are really nice. They would have been made for this time, I would have thought.
CB: After the publication of the Regulus edition of Lilly, this allowed for a proliferation and a revival of interest where lots of astrologers were suddenly reading Lilly again, did you notice any changes start to take place in that community?
CK: Well, in the Lodge people were plowing through it and learning a lot from it. And all the techniques started to be revived. And it certainly made a difference there. What I didn’t know was it made a big difference in America. And when I went to America in the late ’90s to work in New York, I met people there who desperately wanted to see me. And I had never found this before because they’d read Lilly and they were impressed. They liked the book. And when Rob Hand came to talk to the Lodge, I said, “Oh, have you got a copy of Christian Astrology?” “Oh God, yes,” he said. “Absolutely. I carry it with me all the time. It’s very, very interesting.” And I think it changed Rob Hand’s attitude to astrology. I don’t know for sure, but it seemed like it.
CB: Yeah. I think Rob Hand later said that being exposed to Lilly, that started to show him the value of studying older forms of astrology so that later in 1992 and ’93 he would be more open to going back and translating older medieval and Hellenistic works on astrology.
CK: Yes. I thought he started Project Hindsight, didn’t he? I think.
CB: Yeah, in 1992 with Robert–
CK: I should have subscribed, but I didn’t have enough money at the time.
CB: Sure. You were still trying to make it back from everything you plunged into those books.
CK: Yes. I did get my money out of it eventually, but there wasn’t much left after it. We never made much money, that’s all I can say. But the books are out there, and I think I did my thing.
CB: Yeah. Your mission, what you set out to do was accomplished?
CK: Pretty much. There was many more books, I desperately wanted to do the Gadbury, but I couldn’t afford. I couldn’t afford to do it.
CB: Sure. Well, it definitely paved the way for a lot else. And like you said, it did help to pave the road for something like Project Hindsight that was started just a little under a decade later with Robert Hand and Robert Schmidt and Robert Zoller.
CB: Yeah. And now what? It’s been more than 30 years since the publication of the book, and there are astrologers that practice and follow and emulate Lilly’s methods. There’s now like two or three generations of astrologers that have been practicing that approach to horary now. Are you aware of the effect that it’s had on the community in that sense?
CK: Not really, actually. I live in London. I do travel a bit, but I tend to travel for reasons to do with electronics rather than with astrology. I haven’t been to the AA conference for a few years, so I need to get there. But it’s not like it used to be when it was £25 or something to go over the weekend, now it’s a lot of money. And I’ve always meant to go to one of the big American conferences as well, but I should get there. I’m a life member of NCGR. And yes, and I have friends out there. I know that Lee Lehman and Margaret read Lilly. And she went around telling everyone to buy it and so on, and I sent her copies. I know that. I think she bought about 100 copies from me over the years.
CB: Yeah, there’s that whole first generation of astrologers, many of them were initially students of Olivia’s but then went on to become prominent astrologers like Lee Lehman and Deborah Houlding and John Frawley and many other astrologers like that.
CK: Well, it’s interesting because at the Lodge recently, we’ve had people coming back and teaching us about horary astrology. And they find very convoluted ways of interpreting things, whereas there are much simpler interpretations. And if you just look at Lilly, he shows you how to get there pretty damn quick and shows their techniques that they’re using. You can bring out more information. But I’ve always regarded horary as answering the question, is X good or bad? The answer, good, then you’ve got the answer. Why it’s good or bad wasn’t the question if you see what I mean. There are levels of subtlety in it all, I know that. But I think it’s quite interesting that younger astrologers are coming back to it now, and there is a continuing interest in horary which was only a handful of us doing years ago. Olivia Barclay’s book is pretty damn good. She references Lilly all the time, but she did invent a few techniques of her own though none of them spring to mind. And one of my horaries is in there as well.
CB: In her book?
CK: Yeah. So the one about I’m trying to buy a 1937 Bentley, that was me. [Chris laughs] [Clive laughs] I didn’t manage to get it in the end, but I got another one.
CB: Okay. Yeah. And with Olivia and all of them, she passed away of course, do you know when that was? It was in like the early ’90s?
CK: I can’t remember exactly when. My memory for times and dates and people’s names is terrible. Olivia, I knew because we used to meet up regularly. We used to wander along the cliffs, and I used to visit her from time to time. And she was a lovely lady. She was a true astrologer really, I’m not. I can interpret bits and pieces, but I came to it sort of late-ish if you see what I mean. And I’ve always thought it’s my job to enable better astrologists to be better at it, to give them information. And if I can do that, then I’m doing my bit.
CB: Did you notice that there was a lot of… Sometimes when people started reading Lilly, sometimes there were debates of interpretation or different ways that people interpreted the text?
CK: Yeah. There was this whole thing about mutual reception and whether the planets could move and everyone quoted Lilly on this. And if you go through it, there is nothing that suggests that. I do not understand. Lilly says that planets in mutual reception cannot do injury to each other. He regards it as a good thing, but as far as I can make out in the text, unless he wrote something else that I’m not aware of and I don’t think so. There is nothing about moving planets to the sign where they are home if you… I don’t regard it as that sort of dignity. And there was a lot of this technique being used a few years ago in order to try and solve charts to get an answer to a horary question and so on. And I don’t think that’s a legitimate technique. It’s certainly not from Lilly, it’s from someone’s mind, but there you go.
CB: So sometimes there were unexpected results that came out of people interpreting and trying to wrestle with the text?
CK: Yes, I think so. It is a big book. And I don’t know if anyone’s actually read everything all the way through. Because of the language used, there is room for interpretation, both the print, which is difficult to read if you haven’t read it before, but it has to be said, you get used to it quite quickly. And the language is a bit flurry. You can see there’s difficulties in it, but you actually get quite used to it. It doesn’t phase me at all anymore. I just pick up the book and I can read it without thinking about it, but it is a strange typeface, but it was the one at the time, you see? It’s nothing you can do about that.
CB: Right. It has those strange Ss and things like that?
CK: Well, yeah, long Ss. They look a bit like S but they’re not the same. An F starts at the baseline and goes up like that. So it’s like that or like that looking at it from the other point of view [Clive laughs] A long S. It goes below the baseline, it’s like that. They’re not usually used in the beginning of words, they use a small S. But then in the middle of words, they tend to use them. So it looks like [unintelligile 52:59] [Clive laughs]
CB: Right. Is it just a stylistic thing?
CK: Yes. It’s a type style. If you look at Garamond, for example, the W is literally two V’s like that with their crossover in the middle, which I personally quite like, I like typefaces. [Clive laughs]
CB: So in terms of different interpretations of the texts and people started to engage with it at this point, one of the other debates that came up was about the considerations before judgment, where it seemed like some of the students of Olivia and other people that were reading Lilly in the early ’90s and late ’80s, they saw that there were considerations before judgment, but that Lilly would still judge horary charts even that contained them. And there was a debate about what that meant and different interpretations came out of it. Were you following some of those debates?
CK: No, not really. I was aware that people were debating these sorts of things because it would occur at the Lodge occasionally. Some things were quite obvious. If you’ve got void Moon, and I know people will be will take me to task on this, but things rarely go on as Lilly puts it. In other words, a void Moon generally means nothing will come of it. It’s not always the case, but it usually is the case. And I remember a chart coming up at the Lodge and it was someone who was obviously learning horary. And horary has got a way of teaching you as it goes. It’s something I’ve noticed. When you first start horary, you get all the structures, all the things to tell you you shouldn’t do this. Too early degree rising, too late degree rising, the Moon void, either the Ascendant or the Moon in the via combust and things like this, and void Moons or void planets sometimes if they’re critical. It seems to me that astrology has a way of teaching people how to use it. And people bring these things up at the Lodge and you get a chart put up on the Lodge and you say, “Oh, well, yes, of course, it’s teaching you. This is what it means.” Void Moons, nothing will come of it. It’s too early to say. You got half a degree on the Ascendant, we don’t know all the information yet. Things will come about, things will change. And you can go through all of these things. If it’s the late degrees… If you’re 27 years old and you’ve got 27 degrees rising or the person inquired about is 27 or any other number for that matter then or if that person is a very old person, and you’ve got a very late degree rising, then you can sort of say, “Well, okay, let’s go with that.” But more often than not, it means the time for judgment has passed. And if you’re starting out, I’m sure you will get these charts. They will come.
CB: Sure. So those are debates that were happening that you were interested in but not paying attention to because you’d already been through this years earlier in terms of reading through the text and coming to your own understanding of it?
CK: Yeah. Basically, I’ve learned Lilly and Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson who was recommended by Derek. He was a disciple of hers and she certainly wrote an extremely good textbook. And sometimes I will open that to help me solve problems with charts. But yes, it’s… I’ve lost my track now. [Clive laughs] [unintelligible]
CB: Even though you were interested and focused on Lilly and you thought it was valuable to revive some of these older texts and spread them around, you still seem very open to other contemporary forms of astrology. It’s not that you were rejecting them necessarily.
CK: Oh, no. If you want a psychological approach, be my guest. I mean, when Saturn comes round to its birth place in your chart, then you know you’re going to feel the wrath of Saturn, it happens. Anyone who’s 29 years old and say, they didn’t have a difficult year is telling pokies, it happens. And 58 for that matter. And I remember that only too well. There’s room for lots of different interpretations in astrology. There are books I’ve tried to get my hands on. Apparently… I forget the name of the book now, but there’s one, which is very good for electional astrology. And I keep on just missing a copy. I remember I went to Bedford for one month when it came up for auction, and it went for about £1200 or something like that. And I was bidding for someone because she didn’t want to go because she was too nervous about it. So I bid and got it for her at the right price. And the agreement was I would be allowed to photocopy it. And immediately she got it, she rode back on that. So I never got that one. [Clive laughs]
CB: Oh no. So you published three books with Regulus Publishers and then the company was dissolved at some point, right?
CK: It had to be dissolved. Yes. I got divorced and my wife was making life tough and she’d bought some of the shares from one of the other owner, from Catriona, and she was trying to block everything. So the easiest way was just to wind it all up.
CB: And what year was that? Like late ’90s or early 2000s?
CK: That would be about 2001.
CK: Okay. What projects are there that you wish that you could have done that you weren’t able to get to during the course of that whole company and project?
CK: Oh, the Gadbury. I desperately wanted to do Gadbury. It is one of the best textbooks I think ever written on natal astrology. It is on the nail. Some of his interpretations are so spot on. If you look at your own chart and look at Gadbury’s interpretations, you think, “Bloody hell.” That would have convinced me all those years ago back in the early ’70s. I would have been a devotee right from day one.
CB: And that’s the text that was difficult though because he wrote large parts of it in Greek and Latin?
CK: That’s right, yeah. And we have a copy here. I’ll see if I can find a Latin part for your or Greek part, but it’s not easy. Doctrine Nativities, right? It’s about revolutions, we’re not interested in that. I don’t think I’m going to find one. But there are two or three pages which are written.
CB: It’s beautiful seeing all the little annotations.
CK: Oh, yeah. Well, astrologers write marginal notes here.
CB: Right. And that’s like later owners?
CK: Well, yeah. I mean, it’s written in ink with a steel nib looking at it. So it’s probably Victorian writers.
CB: Was that something that you ran into with Lily as well in terms of annotations in the books?
CK: Wait a second. Testament is a poverty.Here we go. This is an idea. When it comes to the particular planet and the particular house, he goes into what shows if they’re rich or poor, what shows us they’re bright or stupid. Arguments of an admirable fortune, there we go. This is such a good book, and I desperately wanted to do it. Here we go. This is reprinted. How every man though not acquainted with astrology may know his complexion by his dreams. And it’s two pages of poetry. [Clive laughs] Not what you find in modern… Here we go. Arguments of a good understanding. The nature is understanding. Mercury and Gemini or Virgo gives a good understanding, a native that so hath it have him shall be of admirable judgment and so on. Arguments of a good understanding. Arguments for dull and stupid understanding. So he deals with this stuff and it’s really on the nail. He’s really good. And I desperately wanted to do that. Other people have done resets and so on, but it’s not quite right. And it really needs to be done properly.
CB: Okay. So maybe that’s a project you hope somebody will pick up in the not too distant future?
CK: It needs to be done. It needs to be bound properly, and it needs to be available so that people in two, three hundred years time have that information.
CB: Right. Do you have any advice if anybody takes on that project from your experience in doing Lilly?
CK: If anyone wants to approach me for advice, I’ll gladly give it to them, but you have to structure the cost and so on so that you will come out at least ahead. And you’ve got to be realistic about the cost of distribution, cost of advertising and everything else. It’s more money than you’d think of. And the cost of running a company, just the cost of that is a lot of money.
CB: So maybe it’s one of those things where you have to be more dedicated to the ideal and the goal rather than the rewards that might happen?
CK: Yeah. If you do this, you’re not going to make a fortune, but you will make people understand what’s going on in the world, hopefully.
CB: Brilliant. All right. I think that’s a good ending point. My last thing, so you have many different hats, but you’re primarily an audio engineer and that’s your job that you did all of those years, and this was a side thing in some sense, right?
CK: That’s right. Yeah, I’m Mercury trine Uranus, good for astrology, good for electronics.
CB: Right. And so you’ve worked with a lot of big name people in terms of your job as an audio engineer?
CK: Yes, I guess so.
CB: Okay. So yeah, okay. I guess my final question then is just, if you could go back and do it over again, starting in the early 1980s before you did the Regulus edition, is there anything that you would’ve done differently knowing what you know now in terms of how it turned out and the effect that it’s had on many different astrologers?
CK: I think I made probably a bigger effect than I realized I was going to at the time. I was more concerned with people at the Lodge and astrologers in Britain, but we ended up sending these things all over the world. We sent them to India and Japan and six or seven hundred to America at least.
CB: Yeah. Somebody just gave me a Japanese translation of Lilly the other day, and I can’t help but think that the existence of that translation has something to do with you publishing the Regulus edition in 1985 and repopularising that text.
CK: It must be, I didn’t know it had been translated into Japanese. But yeah, I guess so. I’m glad, I’m very happy for that. And I’m happy for the people who do the translations, and I hope it makes a difference.
CB: Yeah. Well, thank you a lot for your contribution to the astrological tradition and the community because I think it has made a big difference.
CK: Thank you very much.
CB: All right.